Graphics Automation for BBC 2010 Election Coverage

The BBC election night programme spanned a marathon twenty hours of live broadcasting, drew in results from 649 constituencies across the UK, and relied on Idonix graphics automation to tell the story of the night.

Situation

Numbers obviously play a huge part in live election coverage, so a correspondingly huge amount of technology is required to process and present these numbers.

The BBC needed a system that could:

  • Consume detailed real-time data feeds from the results servers
  • Process and aggregate this data into "bite sized chunks"
  • Push it to numerous real-time graphics rendering systems
  • Provide information displays for the programme's presenters and production staff
  • Offer all these features to both the London and Glasgow operations

Solution

Idonix supplied a scripted IGO system to drive the three render heads required by David Dimbleby’s graphics operation, along with suitably formatted data for Jeremy Vine's VR graphics and Emily Maitlis's touch screen. The system incorporated nine concurrent users inputting graphics and driving them to air, and integrated into real-time XML data feeds from the results servers.

A second system was installed at the BBC's Pacific Quays studios in Glasgow, providing graphics to BBC Scotland's English and Gaelic language services.

Tally Thumbnail

Straight To Air

Straight-to-air generation of results tally and headline flashes.

IGO Device Editor Thumbnail

Device Interlocking

IGO’s output device interlocking allows four workstations to concurrently drive a single render head.

IGO Graphic Editor Thumbnail

Type-In Graphics

Speedy input of templated “type-in” graphics, with formatting and image selectors.

Desk Screen Thumbnail

Monitoring

"IGOView" monitoring feeds to information displays hidden in David Dimbleby’s desk.

IGO Rollup Thumbnail

Formatting

IGO's results processing determines which parties are represented on the graphics, and intelligently applies rounding and formatting rules.

IGO Bridge Thumbnail

Synchronisation

The "IGOBridge" service keeps implementation resources synchronised between sites, whilst keeping graphics separate.

Benefits

  • Distributed script architecture allowed changes in functionality to be made during rehearsal, and even whilst on air
  • IGO’s flexible transmission stack allocation allowed the operation to be governed by editorial demands and not by limitations in technology
  • The same "look and feel" on two different sites, each with their own editorial control
  • Consistent presentation rules across all graphics services
  • Minimal user training requirements